Here, Yia-Yia & Papou refer to my Dad's grandparents, who emigrated separately from Greece. (Sometimes I refer to my grandmother as Yia-Yia, though I never called her that when she was alive.) They owned Marathon Restaurant, a Greek restaurant in Wellsville, NY, where my dad spent a lot of time as a kid, and learned the correct way to make a chocolate shake—vanilla ice cream & chocolate syrup; not with chocolate ice cream.

At some point, my Mom learned this recipe; it was one of my favorites as a kid.


~3 lbs
lamb shoulder or butt
to taste
garlic cloves (halved)
32 oz
diced tomatoes
16 oz
green beans
to taste
salt & pepper
1 lb
chopped potatoes
16 oz
chopped carrots


  1. Pierce the lamb several times, about an inch deep, and fill each with a halved garlic clove.
  2. Salt & pepper the lamb.
  3. Oil a large cast iron braising pan or Dutch Oven, and sear the lamb on all surfaces at medium-high heat.
  4. Slow cook the lamb:
    1. Reduce heat to medium-low.
    2. Add the diced tomatoes (32 oz), chopped potatoes (1 lb), chopped carrots (16oz), and more salt & pepper (if desired).
    3. Cover the pan.
    4. Cook for 1–2 hours.
  5. Add the green beans (16 oz).
  6. Re-cover, and allow to cook for another 60 minutes, then serve.

About this recipe

  • Canned diced tomatoes are great for sauces and this recipe. They're canned fresh, which isn't always the state of whole tomatoes at the grocery store.
  • For the same reason, I like canned green beans. I also prefer regular cut beans, as opposed to French cut beans that will quickly become mushy.
  • Because you're searing the lamb on relatively high heat, I like avocado oil, which has a higher smoke point than olive oil.